DigitalOutbox Episode 55

DigitalOutbox Episode 55
In this episode the team discuss Antennagate, Windows Phone 7, Times Paywall and Xbox Kinect.

Playback
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Shownotes
2:04 – Anttenagate
– Featured on Top Gear
– Consumer Reports can’t recommend it
– Worse, Apple deleting numerous threads in support discussions about this
– Not the first time this has happened – horrible way to treat customers
– Rumours that in the face of this, it HAS to be recalled
– http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9179164/Microsoft_exec_mocks_iPhone_4_dubs_it_Apple_s_Vista
– “It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I’m okay with that,” said Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s chief operating officer, in a keynote speech at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which runs through Thursday in Washington, D.C.
– But I don’t know of anyone, anywhere returning the iPhone or saying their call reception is worse
– PR disaster
– 4.0.1 released – new formula for reception bars, taller and fatter now
– http://www.anandtech.com/show/3821/iphone-4-redux-analyzing-apples-ios-41-signal-fix
– Surely a phone works or doesn’t? Do bars matter?
– Press Conference
– http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/100716iab73asc/event/index.html
– Started with the iPhone Antenna Song – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKIcaejkpD4
– Then – Steve Jobs – “You know . . . we’re not perfect.”
– 3 million sold in 3 weeks
– This problem isn’t an iPhone problem – it’s an industry problem
– Apple spent $100 million in testing facility
– Also affects Blackberry, Android, Nokia
– (see http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2010/07/17/can-you-make-your-current-phone-lose-signal-depending-on-how-you-hold-it/)
– ‘Jesus, it must be a lot of users complaining about this’ — So what percentage have called AppleCare? 0.55% Just one half of one percent.”
– “In the early days of the iPhone 3GS return rates were 6%… below the average, we were happy with that… so for the iPhone 4? You think half the people must be returning their phones with what you read online… well it’s 1.7% — less than a third of the 3GS returns.”
– “Even though we think the iPhone 4 is superior to the 3GS antenna… it drops more calls per 100 than the 3GS. We’re being transparent. So how many more does it drop than the 3GS?” “This is hard data… the iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 than the 3GS. Less than one.”
– The first part is the software update, that fixes the way the bars report and other bugs, that’s out now. Second, people said the bumper fixes everything… ‘why don’t you give everybody a case’? Okay — we’ll give you a free case.”
– “We’re going to send you a free case. We can’t make enough bumpers. No way we can make enough in the quarter. So we’re going to source some cases and give you a choice.” Refund if you’ve already bought one
– “And if you’re not happy, you can bring the phone back. We’ll give you a full refund within 30 days. No restocking fee. We want to make everyone happy, and if we can’t make you happy we’ll give you a full refund.”
– Summary – Yes, it’s a problem but not exclusive to the iPhone however people don’t care as we can’t make enough to sell. We’ve had less returns than our previous bet selling phone which no one complained about. Still, we love our customers and we want to please them – they have been asking for a free bumper so they are going to get one.
OR
– Expert in PR strikes again?
– iPhone 4 perspective: .55% in this case is 165,000 complaints. 1.7% returns is 51,000 phones, +1 per hundred is at least 30K dropped calls.
– Tabloid journalism or the press getting their own back?
– Nothing better than kicking the big guys
– I love how most of the tweets I’m reading that are negative are from non iPhone 4 owners 🙂
– And what of those PR experts that said a recall was the only solution. Looking pretty dumb now.
18:18 – Windows Phone 7 Preview
– No caveats now: Windows Phone 7 is a waste of time and money. It’s a platform that no carrier, device maker, developer, or user should bother with. Microsoft should kill it before it ships and admit that it’s out of the mobile game for good. It is supposed to ship around Christmas 2010, but anyone who gets one will prefer a lump of coal. I really mean that.
– Seeing the UI in action across several tasks, not just in a highly controlled presentation, shows how awkward and unsophisticated it is
– And it’s not just the UI: Under the hood, Windows Phone 7 rests on creakingly old technology that the main competitors have all moved past.
– I was appalled, flummoxed, and stupefied by what I saw and the answers to the questions from the 15 or so developers in the audience. Also, it should be noted that minuscule attendance and the utter lack of passion in the room spoke volumes about Windows Phone 7’s ultimate fate as well. By comparison, about five times as many people attended a session on WebOS.
– The bottom line is this: Windows Phone 7 is a pale imitation of the 2007-era iPhone. It’s as if Microsoft decided in summer 2007 to copy the iPhone and has shut its developers in a bunker ever since, so they don’t realize that several years have passed, that the iPhone has advanced, and that competitors such as Google Android and Palm WebOS have also pushed the needle forward. Microsoft is stuck in 2007, with a smartphone OS whose feature checklist might match that era’s iPhone but whose fit and finish would look like a Pinto next to a Maserati.
– Engadget preview
– http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/19/windows-phone-7-in-depth-preview/
– Much more positive
– Idea’s are half baked which is a big risk for MS
– Gizmodo agree – a good, really good – raw components to build a great smartphone
24:10 – Wired predicts the iPad
– “The next iMac attac promises new lollipop laptops, a more serious series of professional machines, and a wireless handheld dubbed the iPad”
25:27 – Broadband Britain Delayed
– The government has dumped a commitment to deliver universal access to 2Mbit/s broadband by 2012.
– The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said this morning that the previous government had failed to allocate enough funding to meet the schedule.
26:38 – The Times Paywall
– report from the web analytics firm Experian Hitwise that showed that two thirds of the Times and Sunday Times web traffic had melted away after the paywall went up at the beginning of the month.
– If true, better than expected by Times management who expected 90% drop
– But then this afternoon a site called Beehive City had some figures that may have made the champagne go flat at the Times. According to the site, just 15,000 people have signed up to pay for access to the papers’ two websites – and don’t forget that there was an opening offer of £1 for 30 days.
– Beehive City says more than 150,000 registered during the free trial period but it appears that only a small minority then opted to pay. The Times won’t confirm these figures, so why should we taken any notice of an obscure website?
As an aside…..
– BBC ‘rip off’ in perspective: licence fee = £2.80/wk (for TV, radio, websites). New Times paywall = £2/wk (for two websites).
32:36 – Amazon – EBook Outsells Hardcovers
– Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books—astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.
– Bezos again: “The growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189.”
36:33 – Google Remains in China
– China consider Google’s latest tweaks satisfactory and have renewed their operating licence that lets them operate within the largest internet market.
– The “tweak” was basically to stop automatically forwarding from the chinese to the HongKong domain and instead have a manual click through.
– In reality, it doesn’t mean that Chinese citizens will get un-censored internet – the Chinese firewall prevents actual access to sites it doesn’t like but Google at least offers uncensored results.
– In a statement, Google made it clear that although it’s abiding by Chinese law, it’s not censoring.
“The products we are keeping on Google.cn (Music, Translate, Product Search) do not require any censorship by Google,” the company said in a statement. “All other products, like Web search, we are offering from Google.com.hk, and without censorship.”
38:21 – Terrorist Takedown
– Blogetery.com shut down – closing some 70,000 blogs – without notice by it’s ISP following FBI contact related to “links to terrorist material” and an al-Qaeda “hit-list”
– Platform owners/users given no notice.
– “The posted material, in addition to potentially inciting dangerous activities, specifically violated the BurstNet acceptable use policy”
41:26 – Jolicloud
– Web-Based Jolicloud OS Reaches 1.0
– OS is now completely built on HTML 5
– pre-dates Google’s forthcoming “Chrome OS” by well over a year
– ability to run both Web-based applications alongside traditional desktop apps like Skype
– provides access to files previously stored on the computer’s hard drive prior to the Jolicloud upgrade, so you don’t have to worry with backing up your files and photos before making the switch. (Although you should, just to be safe). In the future, Jolicloud plans to offer tools to move these files from the computer’s hard drive to the cloud prior to the upgrade, during the setup process
– 700 apps available in included App Centre
– Thanks to the OS’s Web-based nature, if you choose to install Jolicloud on multiple machines, your settings will remained synchronized between the devices as to how your apps are organized, which you’ve installed, which you’ve deleted, etc.
43:49 – Xbox S and Kinect Prices
– Sell out on launch day
– Retailers struggling to get new stock
– Restrictions form MS or a big hit?
48:03 – Old Spice Goes Viral
– Kinnect + Kinect Adventures = £129.99
– Console (4GB) + Kinect + Kinect Adventures = £249.99
– Pricey! £99.99 should have been the one to aim for…maybe thats the cut down price for next year
– No official date but expect November

Picks
Chris
WinToFlash
– A great little utility to make a bootable USB installation of Windows.
– Needed to re-install Windows XP on a Netbook and this utility turned a horrid process into a breeze. (The alternative online process given required 3 separate utilities, many many steps and was command-line driven…)

Ian
Carcassonne
– Great strategy game
– iPhone only but universal version in development
– Graphics and audio are top notch
Conquist
– Like Risk but better
– iPad only
– A few maps and modes but it plays very well
– Multiplayer but only local – shame

DigitalOutbox Episode 42

DigitalOutbox Episode 42
In this episode the team discuss iPad, politics, paywalls and the 3DS.

Playback
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Shownotes
1:50 – Google Shuts Down Chinese Search
– Chinese search shutdown, redirected to Google Hong Kong
– Users are being redirected for Google web, news and image search to the Hong Kong site, which sits outside of the Chinese firewall.
– Users are also being presented with simplified Chinese in addition to traditional Chinese and English results.
– Dashboard showing status – http://www.google.com/prc/report.html#hl=en
– China then blocks certain searches/results, so back to square one – Google is still censored as it was before, no?

– Gmail has that email attachment thingy! I.e. write “attached” in a document and don’t attach a file and it will warn you!
– It will also now warn you if it thinks you’ve been hacked. Bases this on if your account has been accessed in two different countries over a short time-period.
8:39 – Times and Sunday Times to charge from June online
– The Times and Sunday Times newspapers will start charging to access their websites in June,
– Users will pay £1 for a day’s access and £2 for a week’s subscription.
– Both titles will launch new websites in early May, separating their digital presence for the first time and replacing the existing, combined site, Times Online.
– The two new sites will be available for a free trial period to registered customers. And payment will give customers access to both sites.
– James Harding, editor of The Times, agreed that NI’s paywall strategy was a risk. “But it’s less of a risk than just throwing away our journalism and giving it away from free,” he told the BBC.
– Rebekah Brooks said the decision to charge came “at a defining moment for journalism… We are proud of our journalism and unashamed to say that we believe it has value”.
– Sun and News of the World next
– Privately they acknowledge they will lose 1000’s of regular readers and millions of casual readers but hope the cost is small enough to entice many
15:22 – Best Buy coming to UK
– Best Buy opens its first UK outlet, a superstore with with a 50,000 sqft shop floor, in Lakeside in May
– June for Southamption and Merry Hill, West Midlands, and later this year for Aintree, near Liverpool, and Croydon.
– 80 stores in UK over next 5 years
17:53 – iPad
– WSJ – $17.99 a month
– WSJ print is $29 a month
– But what about flash
– http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/03/29/brightcove_converts_time_nyt_flash_video_to_html5_for_ipad.html
– Brightcove’s partnerships with The New York Times and Time magazine will allow HTML5 to seamlessly replace Adobe Flash video content on the publications’ Web sites for compatibility with Apple’s iPad
– Brightcove Experience for HTML5, a framework for publishing and delivering interactive and advertising-supported Web video. The platform is available free to the more than 1,000 Brightcove customers in 42 countries.
– Monday’s announcement means it’s possible that video in the Adobe Flash format could be converted to HTML5 automatically for high-profile Web sites, perhaps as soon as the device’s April 3 U.S. launch. The company said its clients can now use the tool to build iPad-ready Web sites, and in the next year the platform will be expanded to support customization and branding of the player environment, advertising, analytics, social sharing and other capabilities.
– Magazines – same price as print version or cheaper – non add version of esquire for $2.99, $2 less than paper version
– http://www.macrumors.com/2010/03/26/ipad-app-store-reveals-launch-apps-top-seller-lists-app-details/
– iPad App Store shows many titles with ‘HD’ added or ‘for iPad’
– Also shows increased price point for many app’s – will that be an issue? $50 for omnigraffle for example
– http://www.tuaw.com/2010/03/29/first-look-kobo-for-ipad/ – nice book app for iPad
– http://www.apple.com/ipad/guided-tours/
– iTunes 9.1 this week?
– Just got 10.6.3 on Mac’s – support for iPads?
37:44 – BBC iPhone Apps Delayed
-BBC Trust asks for delay on BBC iPhone app after industry representation
– industry think it abuses BBC’s dominant position in news.
39:33 – Gifting iPhone Apps
– You can now gift app’s in iTunes
– Can only gift to people in same country but apart from that, same as gifting music
40:49 – A night at the Opera
– A lot of talk this week about whether Opera will get their browser approved into the App Store
– I would call the majority saying “No way”.
– Opera seem weirdly optimistic though.
– My call? Rejected – duplication of core functionality.
– We may well know by he time of the next cast!
43:47 – Nintendo 3DS
– New handheld system from Nintendo
– we know the system will use two screens, will have some sort of 3D, won’t require any sort of special glasses, and will be backwards compatible with current DS and DSi games.
– rumours are that the 3d will use camera’s to tracks your eyes position in relation to screen angle – very clever
– Maybe 720p screens, accelerometer for tile controls, possible 3g chip
– Released between now and March 2011
47:24 – Microsoft Game Room
– Now launched on Live for Xbox and PC
– Free download
– Design arcade rooms
– 30 games available now that cost – 260 points for game on one platform, 500 for game on pc and xbox
– Friends can visit your arcade
– Time warp facility to rewind back a game
– No better than mame really
48:48 – PS3 No More Linux
– April 1st update will remove ‘Install Other OS’ option form older PS3’s
– Newer slims can’t do this anyway, but will disappoint Linux fans surely…
– Security concerns is the reason, but it is optional…
– The consumer electronics giant said that the update will be optionally, but it cautioned that failure to upgrade will lock users out of the PlayStation Network. They will also be prevented from playing DRM-encumbered videos stored on a media server, and from viewing any Blu-ray Discs or PS3 games that require firmware 3.21.

Picks
Henry
Scrivener
– The best app for writing books or long form material
– Great research options
– Track content via outliner, index cards
– Mac only

Ian
Auto Smiley
– A computer vision application that runs in the background while you work.
– The software analyzes your face while you are working and if it detects a smile it sends the the ascii smiley face letters “: )” as keyboard presses to the front most application.
– Auto Smiley has many uses from just straight up convenience to enforcing honesty in your online communication 🙂

DigitalOutbox Episode 33

DigitalOutbox Episode 33
In this episode the team discuss Google vs China, MS Word Banned and Apple Rumours.

Playback
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Shownotes
0:45 – Google vs China
– “highly sophisticated and targeted attack” on their corporate infrastructure that occurred last month.
– The attack originated in China and resulted in the “theft of intellectual property from Google.”
– Attack, as confirmed by MS, was through IE (one of the vectors) and MS is working with Google and partners and developing a patch for the hole
– In light of the attack Google is making sweeping changes to its Chinese operations
– The company says that a minimal amount of user information was compromised, but has come to the alarming conclusion that the attacks were targeting the information of Chinese human rights activists
– In light of the attacks, and after attempts by the Chinese government to further restrict free speech on the web, Google has decided it will deploy a fully uncensored version of its search engine in China.
– This is a major change: since January 2006, Google has made concessions to the Chinese government and offered a censored (and highly controversial) version of its search engine at Google.cn.
– Should the Chinese government decide that an uncensored engine is illegal, then Google may cease operations in China entirely
– Huge, huge step. Massive corporate switch in strategy
– Should be applauded – too often corporations chasing the lucrative untapped chinese market have made concessions to the regime that they would never contemplate anywhere else
– Was this done, as some blogs are stating, due to google losing in China? Google says no – best quarter ever was the latest quarter
– One more thing…..Google hacked the hackers – PC in Taiwan, gathering evidence the attacks originated from mainland China, possibly orchestrated by the government. Hacked 33 other companies including Adobe.
6:08 – Nexus One Support Issues
– It seems that Google / T-Mobile (America) / HTC don’t really know who is supporting the Nexus Phone.
– Google have no dedicated support line and are only offering support through a forum and via email.
– Good product but bad support = fail.
– Google have said they are now working with their partners to offer support via a number of channels.
– Early termination cost greater than cost of full hardware cost. (Google claim back as do T-Mobile…)
11:45 – GDrive but not in name
– soon upload any file type at all to Google Docs, not just the dozen or so Office formats that the service allowed as of yesterday. Video files. Images. Audio Files. Even Zip files. As long as those files are 250 MB or smaller, you’re good.
– The new feature will roll out over the next several weeks, says Google.
– Like other documents in Google docs, files can be kept private, made public or shared with a few users.
– Google Viewer can be used to view many file types, with the notable exception of video.
– Regular users have 1 GB of free storage and can purchase more for $0.25/GB.
– Enterprise customer pay higher prices, starting at $17/year for 5 GB. There are no bandwidth charges.
15:38 – MS banned from selling Word and Office
– The US courts upheld the initial judgement that MS has infringed i4i’s “Custom XML” patent in their Office suite and Monday 11th saw that start of the ban on selling the products.
– As it happens, MS has now produced a version that no longer violates the patent and so “This process will be imperceptible to the vast majority of customers”.
– MS also had to pay i4i damages of £183m.
– MS are planning to appeal further.
22:56 – Free laptops for low income families
– A new scheme to give free laptops to some 270,000 pupils from low income families has begun.
– The Home Access Scheme will follow similar eligibility criteria to those offered free school meals and will see a grant for a computer and also funding for a broadband connection for 1 year.
25:05 – OINK Admin Acquitted on fraud charge
– Alan Ellis, 26, was the first person in the UK to be prosecuted for illegal file-sharing.
– He operated the site, called Oink, from his flat in Middlesbrough from 2004 until it was closed down in a police raid in October 2007.
In that time Oink facilitated the download of 21 million music files.
– At the end of the two week trial the jury returned a unanimous verdict (12 to 0). Alan Ellis is not guilty of Conspiracy to Defraud the music industry. He walked out of Teesside Crown Court a free man today, his name cleared.
– The verdict cannot be appealed and Ellis can finally put the past behind him and move on.
– So, crack on with torrenting then….
28:59 – Blippy goes live
– Social network for your spending
– Hook up your iTunes account, Amazon account, audible, godaddy, netflix, blockbuster, credit card or bank account
– Blippy will then broadcast your purchases
– People can follow you and see/comment on your purchases
– Step too far?
– It’s got lots of investors – I just don’t feel comfortable putting my accounts into this service.
35:14 – Marks and Spencer Netbook Range
– What the hey!
36:36 – Binged.it
– URL shortener
– Longer than bing?
39:38 – Tablet Rumours
– Orange exec confirms it and a built in webcam….then denies it
– Lots of 10.1 inch oled screens ordered,
– Gruber – no camera, webcam or otherwise on The Tablet
41:25 – iPhone Rumours
– oled, video chat, removable battery, twice the battery life and mobile tv
– touch sensitive back ala magic mouse – why – does that solve the game controller problem Chris mentioned?
– go figure
– Question – what would you want in os 4.0?
47:29 – Vodafone launches sat nav app
– Vodafone Navigation
– The application promises turn-by-turn navigation, with voice instructions and speed camera alerts, for any location in the UK.
– While the application is currently free, at the end of April 2010, customers can decide to keep the application for the length of their contract for just £3 a month, or choose to take it month by month for £5 a month.
– Only works with iPhone and a Vodafone SIM card
– They also sold 50,000 iPhones on first day

Picks
Ian
Readability
– Cleans up cluttered pages
– Great for reading long form stories – run through readability first then store to Instapaper or Evernote

Henry
Appzapper 2
– The uninstaller that Apple forgot
– Easy to use – keeps your mac clean of old apps

Chris
Dragon Age:Origins